Marketing Analysis of Actual
following direct mail pieces are reprinted below, but with changes
to disguise the client company and its location. After each piece you
will find our analysis and recommendations. Remember,
the analysis of marketing pieces with few or no problems is
The entire fee for this analysis was REFUNDED as there were few
problems. The client reported the piece is generating a good response
and wanted to know why.
Mail Advertising that gets results is not an accident!
customized direct mail promotions bring more of the mailed prospects
into your store. An investment with us provides a return, not an
expense. With a direct personal invitation, you can speak to a
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fit your dealership, area, and products.
return the attached request by fax and we will send a sample package
and proposal for your review. Take a look before you even speak with us.
or call for details and full color samples."
Marketing Analysis: There
are numerous factors in the design of this piece which contribute to
its effectiveness. They may be broken down into Content and Design factors.
are five sentences, 71 words, that comprise the heart of the
message. It requires roughly 20 seconds to read, which research
suggests is near the outside limit of the time which the average
person is initially willing to devote to a message of unknown value.
In those 71 words are 7 promises, each focused on a different primary
motivation of the reader (an auto dealer). Thus, in 20 seconds the
reader receives seven different promises that you can give him what
name of the company, and its slogan (" ****** ") at the
top of the page, suggest that you specialize in auto advertising, and
can thus be expected to be more proficient than some general-purpose
ad agency. This promises to satisfy a key "need" motivation
to hire a firm which knows what they're doing.
headline emphasizes "results." This is a tangible
measurement -- people coming in the door -- which can easily be
compared to the results achieved by prior ads and promotions. This
appeals to the hard-nosed, dollars-and-cents attitude which car
dealers must have to be successful. It promises to satisfy a strong
headline also raises a "fear" motivation -- that the
sporadic good results of past ads and promotions were an
"accident." In other words, he got good results, but he
doesn't really know WHY he got people to come out. It raises memories
of past ads that the dealer thought were "sure-fire," but
didn't work. And it stimulates a strong motivation to reduce that
fear of future ads by using an expert's approach which he can have
of the other sentences hit a separate "hot button"
motivation of the reader -- * bring in more people, * provide a
return, * target the pitch, * don't waste money, * lists engineered
to fit needs. Like bricks, each separate promise helps build a wall
of promises that, seen as a whole, suggests two things to the buyer:
(1) "These guys know what I really need." And (2) "They
just might know how to make it happen."
that is all that's required for them to take the next step -- that
belief. It doesn't require the "hard sell." You are smart
enough to realize that this piece isn't selling them your promotional
services, it is selling them on the idea of sending back your fax.
That's the only sales goal of this piece.
"next step" is simple and convenient. They don't have to
do anything. The fewer demands on the dealer's time required to take
the next step is critical for the broadest success of the piece. Even
the dealer's name and address is already printed on the return fax
sheet. The last sentences also make an important promise. It says, in
effect, "no salesman will call." The dealer won't be
bothered, receiving only the printed information he wants. In short,
it is a "no-lose" proposition for him to take the next step.
piece is very short, and looks it. That's good. It does not appear
to be overwhelming, encouraging dealers to at least take a look.
typeface is informal, as is the cartoon at the top left of the page.
While in some types of business, this informality would not send a
strong a message about the image of your company, with this target
market it appears to strike the right note.
large amount of space between lines and the white space throughout
the ad suggest to the reader that "this will be quick and easy
to process, so I'll take a look, rather than tossing it in the trash."
are only two minor changes which immediately come to mind if this
piece were to be redesigned.
The first paragraph of promises ends with the weakest promise. It is
the weakest because it focuses on the Process of getting people in
the door (mailing lists), rather than how they will benefit the
dealer once they are inside (results, return, sales, etc.) Research
suggests that the second strongest argument should go at the end of a
short list of persuasive reasons. The list could either be
re-ordered, or the sentence could be restructured to emphasize the
end result rather than the process.
When customers physically do something that commits them to the next
step in the buying process, it helps cement their abstract mental
agreement to take that step. While telling their secretary to fax
back the form is a physical action, it can be made stronger by asking
them to check the box on the fax form, rather than having the
checkmark already printed on it. This forces them to make a tiny
behavioral choice in your favor. If they are going to send it back,
they won't object to making the mark, and if they aren't, it doesn't
matter if the checkmark is there or not.
#2: "FROGS LEGS" This
piece is similar in its underlying style and "creative"
thinking to many other problem marketing pieces we see at MPG. The
client reported it is not pulling in business and wanted to know why.
What's a Good Price for Frogs' legs?
you answered "How would I know? I'm not in the market to buy
frogs' legs!" then you should consider ***** Marketing for your
next dealer event promotion. Services constructed by a veteran
General Manager coming from a High Volume Dealer.
invitations are sent to prospects who are currently or soon will be
in the market
upgrade their vehicle!
customized sales events provide
the top results at under the market prices.
¢ per mailer (7,500 minimum)! Compare to other Promotions!
Cash Prices for attendees up to $10,000
* Success Training * First Class Postage
order TODAY will give you GREAT SALES for the upcoming month!
you plan your calendar, please think on this: Our intention is your
success. Give us a call and we'll quickly set up a meeting to discuss
for details and color samples!"
name/address, but no phone or fax)
Marketing Analysis: This pieces uses a similar design
structure as the "accident" piece -- lots of white space,
informal font, hand drawn illustration, etc. That does not appear to
be the problem with the piece. Instead the problem lies in its
content and approach. Specifically. . .
is very weak. It asks the reader to focus on a question he probably
has no interest in. That's your first mistake. Headlines should grab
attention and draw the reader into the text. While this headline is
nicely off-beat, and does use a question format to create
involvement, in the long run it doesn't work. There is no obvious
relationship between frogs and car sales, so it initially seems like
a waste of time to read further, which immediately reduces the number
of dealers who get down to your pitch. As one of my students so aptly
said, the first question in any buyer's mind is "Why should I
care?" This first thought in the piece does not offer any good
reasons for caring, or reading about the company's services.
picture of a frog on a lily pad snatching a fly from the air looks a
little cheesy. People look first at pictures. The role of the picture
is to intrigue and entice them to read the headline, and to help
create the mental launch pad for pitching your message. This picture
doesn't help set up your pitch, because it is not even symbolically
related to the message. In fact, the combination of the picture and
headline probably make some readers think you're about to pitch them
on a restaurant!
sentence should be tossed, too. There is no obvious relationship in
this "if-then" sentence between the price of frogs legs
(the "if") and using AAA (the "then.") In
addition, the sentence covertly digs at the reader by telling him
"I knew you wouldn't know the answer to this question." No
one likes to be told they don't know something, even if it is the
price of caviar in Stockholm. Subconsciously it diminishes our self-image.
The text of
the pitch paragraph is primarily focused on the Process, not the
desired Results, which is where the dealer's motivations are
strongest. It talks about "your next promotion," "our
invitations, "our sales events."
You also use
one of your strong selling points as a "throw-away." Your
experience in the dealer trenches gives you a strong appeal
("Guy's been there, so he knows the car business, knows the
customers.") But it is just tossed in without explanation here,
negating nearly all its impact.
sentence that really talks about the results the dealer wants to hear
is not as easy to understand as it should be. "Over the top
results at under the market prices." Notice that the two
main concepts are each expressed in a triad of words, which should be
linked, but aren't. The thoughts would be stronger and quicker to
understand with dashes linking the words: "Over-the-Top
results at under-the-market prices."
to inspire much interest, the offer to "get acquainted" is
not very appealing. It is also the biggest copy on the page, drawing
the eye directly to it. You want the reader's eye drawn to the words
which will stimulate his strongest motivations and suggest they can
be satisfied. You don't have any of them in here now, but you could
use an image-rich thought like "We don't have enough salesmen
to help all these people!!" either as a headline or
somewhere in the body copy.
"Customized Invitational Event" doesn't have a very clear
meaning. You want your offer to jump right out at the reader, which
requires that it be clear. Let's talk about what you mean and how it
can be fixed.
It is not a
good idea to tax the reader's memory for numbers if you don't need
to. However, if the dealer has recently done mailers and remembers
what he paid for them, then he will have a basis to compare prices.
But he won't know what results he will get with your mailing. So the
entire weight of the success of the piece rests on its comparative
price -- and then only for those dealers for whom price is
far-and-away the most important factor in their decision.
comparisons are to be done, then it is more effective if some
representative costs of the competing media are stated, rather than
forcing the dealer to try to recall their costs. It will be even
stronger if the price is not presented as part of the Process (one
mailer for 89-cents), but in terms of Results -- "At **-cents
each, our promotional mailers are 25% cheaper than what you've
probably paid, On average they bring 38% more people to the showroom.
That means you will get almost DOUBLE the traffic for every
promotional dollar you spend with us!"
The sentence "includes
cash prizes for attendees up to $10,000" is a little
ambiguous on first reading -- it isn't clear if your company or the
dealer with provide the $10,000. Is it extra, or is it built into the
per-mailer price? That ambiguity makes it weak, when the idea demands
a very strong sentence. A stronger version might have read: "WE
will provide up to $10,000 in CASH MONEY prizes for some of your
The last three
"pitches" (the hostess, training, postage) should be part
of the initial paragraph, where you explain all the value you will
provide. Placing the promises up front (written in terms of Results,
not Process), and devoting a sentence or two to explain their value,
will make the subsequent price offer even more attractive. ("I
get all that for only **-cents?") It's like a mental scale --
you need to pile up all the value-added you have on one pan before
you place the price on the other.
The sentence "Your
order today will give you great sales for the upcoming month!"
needs to be rewritten. The purpose of the piece is not to get an
order, but to get a phone call. This directive in this sentence ("your
order today") tries to push the reader much farther along
in the buying process than he wants to be. Instead, it should focus
on your key selling point here: "Your phone call today will
produce bigger sales in 30 days."
The next to
last sentence, "As you plan your calendar...", is
weak and slightly confusing. The first phrase tells them "there's
no hurry." And they have little incentive to act because none
of their "hot button" motivations have been stimulated. The
call to action' is open-ended, not time sensitive or specific.
The phrase "our intention is your success" is not
immediately easy to understand, and would be better as "our
goal is your success." By the way, you know that you should
always include your address and phone number on every page of these mailers.
asks the dealer to focus on his needs' rather than on the end
results -- bigger sales and more profit -- which generate more
interest from the dealer. Here's a useful analogy: If you're selling
perfume to a woman, your ad doesn't focus on her need for romance
(sitting in a room alone by the telephone), but on the romance itself
(dancing at a swank party with a handsome man), and then on how to
achieve that desire (a picture of your perfume). That's why nearly
all perfume ads show the buyer what she wants, then shows her how to
get it. Ultimately, we're all selling perfume.
Psychological Marketing Analysis like these be valuable
in fine-tuning your marketing materials?
TO LEARN HOW YOU
CAN SELL MORE?
Simply attach or copy your marketing materials to an e-mail. We'll
promptly let you know what our analysis will cost. YOU'LL BE
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. GUARANTEE: MATERIALS WITH FEW
OR NO PROBLEMS WILL BE ANALYZED FOR
and attach the marketing materials you want us to review. Be sure to
describe your target audience for each piece.
don't have marketing materials, let us design them right the first time!
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